In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office says the Air Force needs to change its commercial acquisitions practices. GAO found that the while the DOD encouraged commercial acquisitions as a way to save money and increase competition, the Air Force has not done enough to realize the benefits envisioned. The report says the Air Force “has increased its spending using commercial acquisition” but “for at least one of the expected benefits, attracting new market entrants, the expected benefit has not materialized.” GAO also found that the Air Force awarded too many sole-source contracts, which makes contracts more susceptible to price hikes. The report recommends that the Air Force collect information to measure cost savings, increase access to commercial markets and increase access to “nontraditional” contractors. GAO says DOD agreed with their assessment “in principle,” but DOD plans to let the Air Force look for a less expensive means to measure the process.
The Collaborative Combat Aircraft will be operational in the late 2020s, several years before the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Air Force officials told the House Armed Services tactical aviation panel. The CCAs will first be “shooters,” then electronic warfare platforms, then sensors, in that order, they added.